Dad takes plight to Downing Street

A pioneering charity battling to stop Sudden Death Syndrome striking down young people is to meet leading politicians in Downing Street thanks to a dedicated Birmingham dad.

Campaigning group Cardiac Risk in the Young is now a national charity, but one of its founder members is Roy Ball from Harborne.

He watched his 16-year-old son Andrew collapse and die on a football pitch more than 25 years ago.

Like many tragic cases since, soccer-mad Andrew died from Sudden Death Syndrome or cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart to suddenly fail without warning.

Now 70-year-old Roy and other families who have lost teenagers in the same way, are to meet new Culture, Media and Sports Secretary Andy Burnham and Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe at Downing Street on February 28.

Both politicians, who are also members of the CRY All Party Parliamentary Group, want to meet families whose youngsters have suffered a sudden death in football – either during a game or in training.

"This is something we have been striving for many years," said grandfather Roy, a retired Hackney carriage driver.

"I hope the result of this meeting will mean that more young people can be tested routinely so we can catch this killer before it is too late.

"I would like to hear from local families who have lost children in this way while playing sport to contact me. Places are limited on the Downing Street visit but we would like people to come forward."

Roy has already helped to pioneer screening sessions fro young people in Birmingham, aged between 14 and 35. Another session is being held at Longbridge Methodist Church, Bristol Road South, on Saturday, March 1, from 9am.

Roy can be contacted on 0121 681 8189 or there is more information at the CRY website at